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Choa - L'hiver en question

  by Emma Haigh

published: 11 / 4 / 2004

Choa - L'hiver en question
Label: GGOO22
Format: CD


Wintry, rich debut album from new French electronica artist, Choa, which "oscillates between the hauntingly beautiful and the frankly disturbing"

In the world of Choa, as true to life, winter oscillates between the hauntingly beautiful and the frankly disturbing. The first tendrilling notes of 'L’hiver en Question' resonate and thaw, sinking beneath your skin, easing off the bite of the cold light of day. This is at once an almost perfect escapist’s album, and an intellectual stimulant. The disorientation is inherently pixilated in an astonishingly visual effect. It is a densely rich orchestration of the depths of love and intensity, culminated by electronic wizardry and subtle storytelling. Luring you in the lingering keyboards drone over jarring scriffs of distortion, the whining howl of a harmonica bluely seeps, the delicately plinking guitar of 'Peur de Mourir' trickle and drip until they merge to cascade through your soul. An icicle melting. Roaming clandestinely through 'Mes Sirenes Sont des Cigales', 'Paradis Part1' and 'Paradis Part2', winter stalks you into night and into the gradual ascent into dawn. Murky acoustics wave over a subtle electronic impulse, sealing the fate of the listener. You remain trapped by an overcast spell. Somewhere in 'Grain de Haine', a child screams and cries for its mother. Over and over the screams grate and coil against an unknown. These are songs of pain and sacrifice. A silky and mutable dance that merges uneasily with a tapestry of sound. For the monolinguist, the intermingling stream of French and English vocals both washes comfortingly, and disallows aural passivity. As someone who doesn’t speak French, the lyrics simply add to the effect of being prey to the unknown. Thrown into a sea of disorder, there is the added sting of alienation and a deep sense of the isolation that seeps from dark and cold. Which is what makes the English lyrics found in 'Perdu' and 'Envie de Vivre' seem so unfortunately amateur. They are either badly translated, or really, just rather rubbish – trying too hard to be profound, too desperate to make their mark, they fail. On an album like this, lyrics are unnecessary. 'L’hiver en Question' is an album that is to be experienced rather than merely listened to. The power comes from the sensuality and affecting story that unravels from the sheer weight of the complexity of instrumentation.

Track Listing:-
1 Peu de mourir
2 Au fond de moi
3 Perdu
4 Mes sirènes sont des cigales
5 Paradis Part1
6 Grain de haine
7 L'amour tordu
8 Bulle
9 Paradis Part2
10 Envie de vivre

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